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Dark Ages of Britain #1

The Road to Avalon

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The pageantry and passionate intrigues of King Arthur’s court are expertly re-created in this historical novel—the only Arthurian novel in which all of the central characters are portrayed as intrinsically good people. This realistic retelling of the legend shows Arthur severing the bonds of bastardy, vanquishing the Saxons, and loving one woman. As the daring teenage warrior prepares for the throne, he discovers true love with Morgan of Avalon, the youngest of Merlin’s daughters, but fate cruelly thwarts their hopes for a future together. Never before has a telling of the Arthur story made the breathtaking drama of this charismatic king more real or moving.

368 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 1988

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About the author

Mary Jo Putney

140 books2,068 followers
She writes young adult fiction as M.J. Putney.

Mary Jo Putney was born on 1946 in Upstate New York with a reading addiction, a condition for which there is no known cure. After earning degrees in English Literature and Industrial Design at Syracuse University, she did various forms of design work in California and England before inertia took over in Baltimore, Maryland, where she has lived very comfortably ever since.

While becoming a novelist was her ultimate fantasy, it never occurred to her that writing was an achievable goal until she acquired a computer for other purposes. When the realization hit that a computer was the ultimate writing tool, she charged merrily into her first book with an ignorance that illustrates the adage that fools rush in where angels fear to tread.

Fortune sometimes favors the foolish and her first book sold quickly, thereby changing her life forever, in most ways for the better. (“But why didn't anyone tell me that writing would change the way one reads?”) Like a lemming over a cliff, she gave up her freelance graphic design business to become a full-time writer as soon as possible.

Since 1987, Ms. Putney has published twenty-nine books and counting. Her stories are noted for psychological depth and unusual subject matter such as alcoholism, death and dying, and domestic abuse. She has made all of the national bestseller lists including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USAToday, and Publishers Weekly. Five of her books have been named among the year’s top five romances by The Library Journal. The Spiral Path and Stolen Magic were chosen as one of Top Ten romances of their years by Booklist, published by the American Library Association.

A nine-time finalist for the Romance Writers of America RITA, she has won RITAs for Dancing on the Wind and The Rake and the Reformer and is on the RWA Honor Roll for bestselling authors. She has been awarded two Romantic Times Career Achievement Awards, four NJRW Golden Leaf awards, plus the NJRW career achievement award for historical romance. Though most of her books have been historical, she has also published three contemporary romances. The Marriage Spell will be out in June 2006 in hardcover, and Stolen Magic (written as M. J. Putney) will be released in July 2006.

Ms. Putney says that not least among the blessings of a full-time writing career is that one almost never has to wear pantyhose.

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5 stars
697 (40%)
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546 (31%)
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355 (20%)
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36 (2%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 137 reviews
Profile Image for Gary.
931 reviews196 followers
January 29, 2019
I cannot resist most Arthurian novels my favourite being The Merlin series by Mary Stewart and the Queen of camelot by Nancy McKenzie
This novel focuses on the relationship between Morgan (here Merlins daughter) and Arthur. Morgan being Arthur's love of his life
But sympathetic portrayal of Gwenhwyfhar too and her relationship with Bedwyr (who is Lancelot )
Great read, good grasp of Britain at the time
The villain of the piece is usually a minor character in Arthurian literature , but it is well brought together
I found it compelling and a great addition to my Arthurian experience
Profile Image for Misfit.
1,637 reviews272 followers
August 20, 2008
This was a great read -- I could not put it down. It was wonderful to start with the young Arthur and the experiences that made him the man - king -- that he was. The love story between Arthur and Morgan is truly heartbreaking and will bring tears to your eyes. The scene where Arthur comes face to face with the son he didn't know he had is gut wrenching.

I highly recommend this book, as well as the other two that follow in this trilogy, Born of the Sun and The Edge of Light. I wish the author would return to this style and quality of writing as opposed to the light fluffy regencies she is currently writing.
Profile Image for Dana.
49 reviews8 followers
March 25, 2012
I'm obsessed with Arthurian legend. I can't find an arthurian legend book without wanting to pick it up. Morgana le fay, Arthur, Merlin, Guinevere, Nimueh, Lancelot…. any of these character's names shows up and I have to get the book. It's rather unhealthy.

I read this book a long time ago, but just had to read it again. My favorite relationship of the legend is that between Arthur and Morgana, but unfortunately most stories only focus on the hate and loathing, while I see them as the most tragic love story. The Road to Avalon is the only version of the arthurian legend i have found that focuses on the pure and good love between Arthur and Morgana.

I wish the story had given Morgana more of a dark undertone, but that wasn't what Joan Wolf was going for. THe strongest part of this entire story has to be the depth to Arthur, who really is the main narrator of the story. Often Arthur is pushed in the back of his own legend, but in this version he is the center. While there were some things that bothered me (Guinevere at the end, and Mordred himself) overall I loved the retelling and how she focused on Arthur's first love. Definitely recommend reading it!
Profile Image for Thalia.
330 reviews18 followers
December 5, 2009
Here is a PG13 version of the classic Arthurian legend. Not to say that's bad, but perhaps a little annoying. Everyone is beautiful and so talented and so very one dimensional. It wasn't an unpleasant read but juvenial. I thought perhaps this was aimed at younger readers but it doesn't appear to be. Shame, I think that demographic would actually embrace this simplistic, utopian version. For the more experianced Arthurian reader, however, it will fail to impress. I'm sounding like a snob, I know, but seriously?
Profile Image for Natasa.
1,163 reviews
May 3, 2019
The author repeats lines and themes, leaves out important pieces, and does not bring many important characters to life. There are frequent occasions when she tells us about events rather than bringing us into the story. I enjoyed some ideas she had about character motivation but was disappointed with the execution of those ideas.
27 reviews
April 6, 2008
I read this book so long ago I can't really recall what year it was. I am guessing somewhere around 1988. It is one of my all time favorites.

This book sucked me in. At the time I really wasn't much of a reader but I got the "itch" to read one day and took the time to hang out in the library long enough to find this one. I literally walked up and down the isles just looking at titles and covers waiting for something to call out to me. When I came across this one I decided it looked interesting enough to give it a try. Surprisingly, I couldn't put it down. I found a genre I loved.

It's a mix of historical happenings (maybe not so true), romance and telepathy. It takes you all the way through the lives of the characters so you are given plenty of time to learn to love or hate them. I remember balling my eyes out in the end. I couldn't believe it ended. I was left feeling so sad because I was so into the book thatI wanted it to keep going. Never to end...

Profile Image for M.L..
Author 2 books168 followers
April 16, 2019
This was a real page-turner. The characters were all well fleshed out and I really enjoyed the variations on the story of the Arthurian legends. Arthur and Morgan were both especially well done, and I really felt for the character Mordred. It didn't take me long to storm through this book and it is an Arthurian retelling that I will revisit in future.
Profile Image for Emiliya Bozhilova.
1,155 reviews175 followers
January 28, 2022
За герои от легендите като крал Артур няма никакво значение съществували ли са реално. Кръглата маса като символ на равнопоставеност, стремежът за налагане на справедливост извън заробващите феодални норми, дори многобройните приключения на рицарите от Камелот са много по-устойчив и вдъхновяващ символ от редица исторически факти.

В тази интерпретация магиите, драконите и граалът липсват. През 5-ти век Англия е вече изоставена от Римската империя, заета със собственото си оцеляване, а келтските кралства, някои от които все още незабравили Римската култура, се борят със саксонските нашественици. Един от последните римски управници е решил да остане в тези земи, и с времето е основал своя кралска династия, хвърляща последен мост между сенките на Рим и задаващата се мрачна епоха.

Това, което винаги ми е липсвало в доста книги за крал Артур, е че той е изплъзващ се и неясен образ. Справедлив, направо нечовешки съвършен и праведен, за разлика от своята кралица и рицари. Тук рицарите много не присъстват, но присъства Артур-човекът. Присъства вечната дилема дали общото благо идва за сметка на личното и от какво трябва да се откаже човек, ако има способности, които се срещат не повече от веднъж на столетие. Но пък дали тези способности могат да се проявят пълноценно и задълго, ако идват за сметка на твърде голяма лична саможертва. Това е просто историята на Артур и Моргана, и много ми хареса и ме трогна.

Гуенхвивар е другата ми любимка, като се изключи, че накрая авторката според мен малко пресоли манджата с нея. Версиите винаги клонят към Гуенхвивар-грешницата, или Гуенхвивар-отчаяно опитващата се да устои на съблазните на извънбрачната любов. Тук погледът е друг - а какво се случва, ако изневярата е единственият начин за психическо оцеляване и помиряване с действителността?

Героите звучат доста съвременно като за 5-ти век, но ако не притежаваха тъкмо някакво универсално, извънвремево ядро, как биха се родили легендите за тях? Липсваше ми по-детайлна политическа картина на епохата, а 10 години просто бяха прескочени. Парадоксално, тази нетънка книга всъщност е твърде кратка, и щеше да е по-удачно да е поне в две части като “Мъглите на Авалон”. Също така ме доядя, че съдбата на голяма част от героите в края остана абсолютно неясна. Артур и Моргана обаче си заслужаваха всяка страница.

⭐️3,5 звезди⭐️
Profile Image for Kim.
729 reviews35 followers
February 25, 2012
An absolutely gorgeous retelling of the Arthurian legends. I was enthralled from start to finish, and could hardly be convinced to put the book down once I'd started.

Profile Image for Laura.
229 reviews13 followers
May 29, 2014
This is a solid, realistic retelling of the Arthurian story, with a few unique twists. After an abusive childhood, Arthur is rescued by his grandfather, Merlin, and brought back to Avalon. There, he falls in love with Merlin's daughter Morgan and their relationship influences everything else that transpires - his kingship, his marriage, and his death.

From that small synopsis, it's apparent how Joan Wolf has played with the standard Arthurian myth and reconfigured some of the key relationships. It's an interesting and different way to tell the story and for the most part, it's largely successful. It's well-written and entertaining, and it has a brisk pace that covers Arthur's entire life in about 350 pages.

The historical setting was well-done, combining Roman and Celtic influences. I especially enjoyed the kingliness of Arthur. Often I've found he's reduced to playing the cuckolded husband, but here he is an intelligent, strong leader. You understand why he is the high king and why people are so devoted to him.

However, my main issue with this book also had to do with Arthur. His relationship with Morgan is the center of the story, so much so that everything else gets pushed aside and short-changed. As I said, it's not a long book so everything that isn't Morgan gets a brief treatment. Guinevere in particular felt rushed and underdeveloped - Arthur treats her horribly and her relationship with Lancelot is so hastily developed that I never quite believed in it.

Likewise, little time is spent on Camelot, the Knights of the Round Table, the battles, and many characters that often feature prominently, such as Merlin. It felt more like a romance novel than your traditional King Arthur story. If you are into romance novels, you may love this. For me, the whole story was so heavily focused on the author's pet project - Arthur and Morgan's relationship - that everything else that I love about the King Arthur story was neglected. This is especially apparent at the end of the book, which concludes abruptly without resolution for the majority of the characters.

This is by no means a painful read and it's always interesting to read a different take on the Arthurian legend. But it was so sidetracked by the Arthur and Morgan relationship that everything else becomes unimportant and the epic story of King Arthur is greatly reduced.
Profile Image for Joanne.
64 reviews2 followers
June 27, 2015
The Road to Avalon is a beautifully written version of the legendary Arthur and his journey from boyhood to king. It is a tale of love and loss, courage, sacrifice, and secrets .....heartbreaking at times as the young man Arthur struggles with his deep love for a woman he can never have and the weight of his destiny.

"Be the king you were born to be...."

Loved this book -- a true gem from the past.
Profile Image for Vivisection.
371 reviews54 followers
July 25, 2011
This is not the smutty historical I usually prefer. This is no where near the most historically accurate representation of Arthur. Well written? Hardly. But I have read it it at least 4 times, including last week. That last scene with Arthur and Morgan and the lavender in her hair STILL gets me. Every. Damn. Time.
Profile Image for Irene.
47 reviews22 followers
May 7, 2020
I'm trying to read as many retelling of the Arthurian myth as I can and I was intrigued by the unique approach of this book. The main difference was the reimagined family and romantic relationships. 

Sadly, for a book that has romance as one of its selling points all the romantic relationships all felt a little flat to me. I was much more interested in reading about the platonic and family connections, to the point that I was a little annoyed when the focus switched back to the romance. 

Where this book shined was the detail of the setting, battles and politics which were all very engaging. 

All in all, it was a fun read but nothing extraordinary. 
Profile Image for Natasha.
8 reviews
August 1, 2015
Any fan of fantasy or of historical drama has read or watched at least two versions of the Arthurian legend. While all take on a slightly different telling, this one by far is the most unique I've read and also the best I've read.

And no, that's not because it support my Arthur/Morgan love.

Focused on a Britain left to its own devices after the Roman Empire pulls out in the early dark ages, Merlin, a former Roman General learns from his daughter, Igraine, that her husband Uther is dying. The frustrating thing is that they have no legitimate children. So Igraine sends her father, Merlin, to Wales to get their son, Arthur, who was sent away shortly after he was born because of the severe question of his legitimacy. Uther isn't dead yet and it's time that Arthur learned the ways to be king.

Abused and alone in Wales, Arthur is found by his grandfather, whom he is told is a rich benefactor and goes to live with the old man at his villa, Avalon, home to exceptional apple orchards where Merlin lives with his young daughter, Morgan.

Yes, you have read this right. Merlin is the father of Igraine and Morgan. He also has another daughter, Morgause, whose married to King Lot in the north.

It's at Avalon that Arthur grows up, this slight, dark haired, fierce boy who shall be king and it's there that he falls in love with quiet and strong Morgan, unknowing that they're half related.

Gwen is actually tolerable, even likeable in this telling. Her and Arthur and Bedwyr (Lancelot) are best friends and oh man, the love story between Arthur and Morgan. It's so unwavering and hard and lovely and just rips at you inside and leaves you a weeping mess, turning every page hoping that this ending will be different against all the others.

It's an easy ready, an addicting, satisfying read for any Arthurian lover. If you like, say, the movie Tristan and Isolde, or Dark Age Britain that doesn't forget that they were, at one time, under Roman influence, pick this up.
Profile Image for Thérèse.
276 reviews47 followers
July 12, 2021
3.5 stars.

This book gave me my rights when it comes to the adoration for Morgan Le Fay. What I mean is, Arthur loved Morgan in this book almost as much as I love her (and this is saying a lot). It was wonderful to see and refreshing as well, since Morgan is often villainized to a ridiculous degree in Arthurian literature.

The characters were very fleshed out. I'll admit, I was expecting them to be a bit one-dimensional. Often in retellings of Arthurian legend Arthur is presented as a king and nothing more. The Arthur in this book is indeed kingly, but he is human also. He displays immense emotion and acts in a realistic way. He cries, he rages, he laughs with friends. This is true of all of the characters in this novel. I especially loved the portrayal of Gwenhwyfar (also known as Guinevere). Her relationship with Arthur was painful but excellent to read about.

While I adore the three dimensional characters, I must admit that Morgan's portrayal disappointed me a little. I am glad that she was not the villain, but I also wish she contained more depth. She has a personality, don't get me wrong, but she was too... nice. I wanted to see more of the magical, antihero-ish Morgan Le Fay, not the heroic healer Lady of Avalon.

That being said, I do enjoy Mordred's portrayal here. He is my favorite character in Arthurian legend after Morgan, so I like that he was not villainized in this book either. His character was a sympathetic one, which I appreciate, as I myself have always tended to be sympathetic towards Mordred. It was great to read a book that did not cast Mordred in a bad light.

However, the villain of the last few hundred pages or so (Agravaine, another character often villainized, but I am not bothered by that as much) is said to be gay. I am not sure how I feel about the only gay character being the evil, horrible villain.... Also, he just wanted to keep Britain Celtic and as a Celtic Studies minor, I can hardly blame him.
Profile Image for Elise.
175 reviews31 followers
April 14, 2011
“Be the king you were born to be,” she said at last.

Okay so Kayla was the one who recommended this book to me so I knew it would be good. As far as Arthurian Legend goes it feels a bit inaccurate but none-the-less it's still a brilliant adaption and I loved the Arthur/Morgan focus of it.

However! I will admit I found parts of it boring and far too lengthy. So many things had long winded descriptions that really didn't need it whereas other parts that perhaps needed a bit more description were short and not very clear.

I really liked how Morgan and Arthur were portrayed in this book though, it felt pretty true to what I already knew and had read about the legend. I didn't like, early in the book, when Arthur was going to drown himself in the lake to make Morgan feel bad. That didn't seem like something Arthur would do, in any version of the legend.

I very much enjoyed the last bit, despite how much it made me cry;

She had felt despair when first they carried him in, but it was gone now. He was still and white and blood had stained through the bandages and she knew he was dying. She could not call him back this time. But he was at peace. She could feel that in him, and she was glad. He had been going away and he had made one last great effort to come back, but now because he was fighting it. He had come back to share some of that peace with them, and to say good-bye.
She crossed to the bed and his heavy lids lifted. Lie with me, he said.
He was beyond pain, and so she did as he asked, resting her head against his arm. We will be together, he told her. Believe that. This is only for a little while. We were always meant to be together, you and I.
She did believe him, and some of his peace crept into her own heart. Arthur, she said. Arthur, my love.
She felt his head move, and his thought came through, faint but clear, Your hair always smells like lavender.

Overall a brilliant read and I'm glad I finally got around to reading it!

Profile Image for Arthurianmaiden.
145 reviews47 followers
January 2, 2013
I've read a lot of novels about arthurian legend but this one is very different from all the others. All the characters seem new characters but not in a bad sense.
Maybe the only bad thing about this novel is that it is not written by one point of view and the feeling I had was that it was a bit confusing while passing throught different narrators even in the same page. Still, the book is amazing. Morgause and Morgana are completely rewritten from the 'tradition' of other arthurian novels I've read. As Guinevere is and all these female characters gain new perspective and grey shades.
Even the love stories (Morgana and Arthur, Guinevere and Bedivere) are very sweet but the best thing is the character of Arthur who is, without any doubt, the best written one and the one I liked less (bur for personal reasons!). He is cold, hurt and at the same time loyal and very human. All the non protagonist characters have sensible explanations for their actions, especially the two villains Agravaine and Mordred. It is very satisfying for me to read a book where the villains have actually reasons. My personal preferences always go to Mordred and this book did not disappoint me in re-writing him: he is kind, naive and weak. A lot of arthurian books, especially the ones with a sympathetic Mordred, write him as a natural leader and a good heir for Arthur's throne. In this one instead Mordred is no leader and he would be an awful king because he is easily manipulated.
To end this rant, I can say that this book, a part from the amazing plot, let me re-read this characters and watch them in a new light.
Profile Image for Lauren.
845 reviews5 followers
December 26, 2011
I've never really been a big fan of Arthuriana, the "Matter of Britain." I have always preferred the humble realism and megalomaniacal narcissism of the real kings of medieval Britain and France, like Henry II and his devil's brood.

Joan Wolf brings to life these fantastic characters in a way that feels real. I always hated the way other treatments of this legend emasculated Arthur, supposedly the greatest king ever, and made him a fool for a beautiful flighty inconstant hussy who cheated on him with the first pretty boy who could handle a sword. Wolf gives him his balls back, and the characters in this telling of the legend read and feel like real people, flawed, feeling, all-too-human REAL.

I love a shrewd (and beautiful) Gwenhwyfar, a self-sacrificing yet all too selfish Morgan, a mortal Merlin, an Arthur who isn't a doddering old fool.

It's smart, it's lyrical, and its magic is in its believability.
Profile Image for Taylor.
423 reviews2 followers
October 9, 2016
Ugh why did I suffer through this book?

I typically love all things Arthurian but as soon as this book took off into the land of mind reading and telepathic links I couldn't roll my eyes harder.

Road to Avalon is a romantic historical fiction focusing on a pleasant love affair between King Arthur and Morgan (who we know as the evil Morgan le Fey). Of course, many of the character tropes that legend has attributed to the standard characters were lost in this retelling, with it being similar to the King Arthur movie of the 2000s (see: Clive Owen and Kiera Knightly and Romans). Thus I found the latter half of the book incredibly boring. Honestly the back of the book's description was more exciting.

Additionally the writing was poor and jumpy with various third person perspectives bogging down the text as they lacked fluidity, distinctions, and an exciting plot.
Profile Image for Debbie.
205 reviews5 followers
November 9, 2014
I loved this book. Quite honestly it's been years since I read it and when i stumbled across it again on Amazon I had to get it.

I'm a fan of good Arthurian fiction and this fits the bill. The characters are all sympathetic and well-developed. Joan Wolf avoids the typical trap of making Morgan "bad" and Guinevere "good" (or vice versa).

Those who prefer a more mythic and magical approach to Arthurian legend might be disappointed in this book. Merlin is not a magician and Morgan is no witch. However if you like a historical romance that is rich and engaging, then this book might be for you.
397 reviews121 followers
July 7, 2020
This is an idealistic and romantic retelling of King Arthur with all the magic taken out of the mix. It utilises a mixed bag approach of multiple POVs and is a very easily read book, starting from when Arthur is nine years old and taken from his abusive home situation to Avalon, where he meets Morgan (Merlin's daughter) and Cai (who's probably Gawain?). I am not a King Arthur expert and only picked this book to find more of the history and genre. This book did not disappoint.

Having read many of Joan Wolf's books before, while I was reading this, the first thing that struck me was how varied her writing is. Some (especially the first person mysteries) are horrendous and have unlikable characters in every corner--although I don't think the author means for even the protagonist to be annoying. Some, like His Lordship's Mistress, are comprised of likable and sympathetic characters with their own motivations and backgrounds. This book read so much like His Lordship's Mistress, that you could have changed all the names, and it might have been an earlier retelling of that book. If you happened to like that book, then this is the book for you.

There were a lot of parts where there is more telling than showing, but for a historical fiction in a genre that I'm not familiar, I preferred this kind of writing. It was very gripping and I couldn't set it down. There was nobody to irritate me, even Gwenhwyfar (Guinevere), who at moments seemed petty--but I think that's because she wasn't made to be extremely sympathetic even though the author tried.

There were moments, especially towards the end, when the villain (Aggravaine) has such a ridiculously, over the top characterisation that I thought it was a bit too much--but I did keep in mind that this was an earlier book, inasmuch as 2007 is "early."

The parts of this book that I really enjoyed were the historical elements, and how names and people were dropped into Arthur's life, as well as the reason that Arthur was kept away from the king and queen (she committed adultery to be with Uther and so Arthur had to be kept away for fear of the scandal). Instant sympathy for the protagonist! I really liked the parallelism of Arthur's love for Morgan and how it was echoed/predicted in her mother's undying love for Uther, to the point where she didn't care about anyone else. That was probably the part that made the story "epic"--the element of the one true love that made Arthur want to give up the kingdom and his life, and how Morgan was the true savior of Britain, because she had to call him back to his duty multiple times.

To be honest, I probably would have given this book only three stars half a year ago, but it was enjoyable and a compelling read, and it kept spurring me to finish. These days, that's about all you can ask for.
Profile Image for Shelley.
481 reviews19 followers
February 6, 2019
I am a major Arthurian legend fan, I have been for years. My favorite series is Mary Stewart series, especially the “Crystal Cave” because I love the story of Merlin’s youth.

This book is a completely different version from most of the Arthurian legend books I have read, and I have read many. The biggest differences is the lack, with the exception of one, truly bad major character. The other is the way in which the characters are related. Merlin is Morgause, Igraine and Morgan’s father, though Morgan is by his second wife. That means he is Uther’s father-in-law and Arthur’s grandfather.

The book begins with Merlin going to pick up Arthur from the home where he’s been fostered for the first nine years of his life. Unfortunately the woman he was fostered with died years before and her brother took over raising Arthur pretty much as an abused slave. How is it that Merlin didn’t know about Arthur’s situation? Because in this book Merlin is not a wizard or druid.

Merlin brings Arthur home to Avalon and introduces him to Morgan and Ector and Cai. He doesn’t tell Arthur and Morgan that they are actually related so that’s a little convoluted. I think technically she is his half aunt?

The other interesting difference is that there are virtually no - ok, one - truly bad guy character (if you don’t count the warring factions) and it’s not who you might expect.

That’s all I’m going to say because I don’t want to try and figure out how to hide spoilers. It’s a very good book if you’re interested in a different version of the legend.
Profile Image for Holliday.
149 reviews32 followers
July 13, 2018

Meh. Senza infamia e senza lode. L’autrice dà delle interpretazioni delle leggende arturiane che potevano essere interessanti; peccato che il tutto sia basato su un romance con personaggi piatti e intrecci poco coinvolgenti. Ogni tanto butta lì dei rari momenti di pathos, ma le svolte drammatiche sono giustificate da spiegazioni un po’ tirate per i capelli e in generale gli eventi sono telefonati; ah, e avrei fatto volentieri a meno dei cenni di magia/supernatural verso la fine che, detto papale papale, proprio non c’entravano ‘na mazza.
Non credo che sia stato tradotto in italiano; comunque anche in lingua originale si legge molto bene, visto che lo stile è di una semplicità e scorrevolezza estreme. Però da una rielaborazione mi aspetto qualcosa in più. 3 stelle.
Profile Image for Barb.
1,156 reviews126 followers
September 7, 2009
This is the first book I've read about King Arthur. So, I didn't have any strong feelings about how or what should happen. I'm not a student of European History so I have no idea about the history at all.

This is the second novel I've read by Joan Wolf. The first was 'No Dark Place' which I did not enjoy at all. 'The Road to Avalon' however I enjoyed very much.

I enjoyed the story, the characters and their relationships. The story is somewhat simple but very emotional with complicated relationships of forbidden and unrequited love, betrayal, deception, jealousy and deep admiration.

I enjoyed the description of the landscape, the architecture and the horsemanship, which reminded me of seeing the Lipizzaner Stallions perform. I really liked the complexities that Wolf ascribes to these characters.

I enjoyed the love story between Arthur and Morgan and while there was a thread of fantasy woven through their relationship that I would have liked better without I still enjoyed their story very much.

I thought the contemporary dialogue gave the story a less authentic feel but it also makes this novel much more assessable for a greater audience. The history wasn't so dense that it overwhelmed the reader but I would have liked a map.

I found this to be the perfect introduction to King Arthur and I think fans of historical romance would eat this up.
Profile Image for Anita.
16 reviews2 followers
December 23, 2012
This was a very nice book. It came to me highly recommended, particularly because of the romance between Arthur and Morgan, however I found it hard to feel passionate about any of the characters or plot lines. The majority of characters are nice people. They start out nice and they finish nice; there is very little character progression at all. All of the expected elements of Arthurian legend are there, they just seem to lack substance.

I found the parts while they were children growing up to be the most interesting, but after Arthur became King I felt the story became a little stale and repetitive. There was none of the epic grandeur that I enjoy about Arthurian legend and I feel this is because the focus of the story was on the romance, which failed to engage me.

I would recommend it for pre-teens or anyone who hadn't read very much Arthurian legend. I think anyone who enjoyed Twilight would probably like this book, as the romance has the same type of innocent/borderline obsessive feel to it.
Profile Image for Gaile.
1,260 reviews
November 11, 2010
I thought this book would be another fantasy/legend about the days of King Arthur which is probably why I passed it up when it was first published. I should not have assumed as this novel is very different from anything else I have read about Arthurian times. He comes across as a believable character in this novel, a magnetic personality, a leader of men, a believer that all of the island must become British in thought, word and deed. Bringing together so many groups at odds with each other though out England is no easy task and would take a life time to accomplish. Although Arthur loves one woman, he loves another but she knowing he was born for England refuses his love. He resolutely sets himself to the task of uniting England. This made for gratifying reading.
Although Arthur dies too young to complete the task he had set himself, the novel is unforgettable, romantic and magnetic.
Profile Image for Sophie.
457 reviews186 followers
July 10, 2011
I loved this book so much. In fact, I might say it's one of my favorites. This year I've been reading a lot of books having to do with Arthurian Legend. What makes this book stand out to me is how every single character is made out to be sympathetic, good, but with flaws that eventually lead to their downfalls. There is no one purely evil character. Gwenhwfer, Mordred, Morgan, they're all likable. Arthur/Morgan have this beautiful relationship too, one of the best portrayed. Another thing that made the book stand out to me was the fact that there wasn't much religious debate, something that made Mists of Avalon not as enjoyable to me. In fact, only one comment is made when a Pagan knight complains about a monk he doesn't like. Arthur says "If we judged all religions by their human representatives, they would all be found lacking."
Profile Image for Lorraine.
1,002 reviews79 followers
August 2, 2014
I loved this book ! Many thanks to Goodreads for recommending this book to me. The author used a 'different take' on this story than many others and I truly liked all of it. The ending was so very good, but sad. I had to put the book down for awhile and then I reread the ending again. It was beautifully written - not just the ending, but the whole book. Once I picked up the book, it was difficult for me to put down. I taught British Lit. to high school students, and I think that my students would have liked this version better than the traditional one which was the one I used when I taught them about King Arthur. Just thinking about King Arthur, Avalon, and Camelot makes me 'homesick' for England and I have been lucky enough to go to England about 15 times. Really great !
Profile Image for Angela.
72 reviews1 follower
August 20, 2012
One of my favorite books for many reasons. I'm a huge Arthurian afficiando. I've read many different forms and versions of the legend. This book a friend bought me for 25cents at a garage sale in 1995. I have read it many times. There is something about Wolf's characters that draw you in and make you want to return time and again. It is also one of the first books I read where the King Arthur legend was given a much more accurate time portrayal, a theme I'm very partial to. At the heart, this book is a romance, but its excellent writing and plot raise it higher than just a mere genre book.
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